Portico Quartet are four young musicians from East London who sound like nothing you’ve ever heard before.
Still in their early ‘20s, Jack Wyllie (saxophones and electronics), Milo Fitzpatrick (double bass), Nick Mulvey (Hang and percussion) and Duncan Bellamy (drums) live together and describe their ethos as like an Indy band that plays post-jazz rather than as a traditional jazz outfit. It’s the unique mix of loops, ethereal sax, otherworldly Hang, clattering drums and earthy double-bass that gives their music it’s inimitable, beautiful sound. And it was the chance purchase of the Hang by Duncan Bellamy, at a music festival, that inspired the young friends to start a band, and while their largely intuitive music references jazz and African music, it’s the Hang inspired trance-like repetitive patterns that propel the band into stranger pastures: invoking Philip Glass and Steve Reich as well as Radiohead or the unique Scandi-jazz sound of EST.
Portico Quartet’s unique brand of atmospheric hook-heavy post-jazz was honed busking across Europe and playing in unusual spaces; churches, galleries and chill-out zones and in just a few years Portico Quartet’s hypnotic music has taken them from busking on London’s South Bank, to a Mercury Prize nomination, to recording at Abbey Road Studio 2 with producer and famed nurturer of young bands John Leckie. (Stone Roses, Radio Head, Muse etc),
Isla was recorded live at Abbey Road (with one piece recorded in their shed!) and minimal over-dubs. Except for a string quartet playing arrangements by band bassist Milo Fitzpatrick any extra instruments are the band themselves. Each of the nine tracks has a distinct mood and atmosphere, while remaining firmly within their unique soundworld. From the churning maelstrom of Clipper to the pounding pedal points of Dawn Patrol; from the fragile ostinatos of Line to the anthemic ensemble of the title track, Isla is an album whose contents reveal fresh nuances and facets on each listen.
What the press have been saying about Isla…
“Isla feeds on Steve Reich mathematics, Radiohead dread, African desert grooves and ECM northern melancholy to travel into a new, chiming cavernous sound-world that is both exotic and hypnotic” **** stars MOJO
“A melodic accessibility and cinematic scope as liable to woo fans of Radiohead as patrons of Ronnie Scott’s” **** stars Q
“Genuinely innovative…there isn’t a band that sounds remotely like them… **** stars” Observer Music Monthly
“Achingly cool…a haunting sound that echoes in your head long after they have stopped playing” The Sun
“A Joy to listen to, full of depth and detail” Word Magazine
"An excitingly expansive collection that retains the trademark hypnotic tone of their flying saucer-shaped 'hang'" Metro
“hauntingly mesmeric soundscapes” ****stars Record Collector
“Like Acoustic Ladyland performing in a chillout zone.. highly atmospheric” **** stars Jazzwise